Three-year-olds to attend primary school


THREE-YEAR-OLDS will attend classes at state primary schools as part of a Queensland-first trial to better prepare kids for "big school".

The issue of formally preparing young children for school has divided experts and parents, but the State Government will spend $2.2 million next year to trial the early leg-up.

Education Minister Grace Grace said the KindyLinQ pilot program would be trialled across 40 schools.

"For many, kindy can initially be a daunting step up, and we want all our children to get a great start," Ms Grace said.

"This 12-month, specially designed program will really help some of our very young Queenslanders develop the essential basic skills needed."

A principal, teacher and early years support co-ordinator will lead the sessions, which will go for about six hours a week.

The sessions will include indoor and outdoor play, story­telling, music and rhymes.

Already 25 schools across Queensland are set up and ready to accept their youngest-ever students, and another 15 will be added to the program early next year.

The individual schools will determine how many children they open their program up to.

They will also handle registrations.

One of the first schools to start the KindyLinQ program will be Camira State School in Ipswich.

Principal Glenn Forbes said he expected to fill the 16 to 20 places at his school.

"The kids will do age-appropriate activities that help promote effective oral language skills and help positive play," he said. "The activities will be provided by a trained educator."

Claire and Elizabeth Bjedov. Picture: Jamie Hanson
Claire and Elizabeth Bjedov. Picture: Jamie Hanson

Tannelle Beaumont said her twin daughters, Claire and Elizabeth Bjedov, were "over the moon" about attending the program.

"I'm a big believer in play-based learning, and because it's free, it means all families in the areas could benefit," she said.

An evaluation after the trial will determine the future of the program, which follows growing concerns that some children starting primary school lack social development and other skills, including using the bathroom and opening a lunch box.

In recent years there has also been a spike in the number of parents sending their children to private pre-prep tutoring, despite experts warning that it might place too much pressure on young kids.

Parents can contact their local participating schools to register their three-year-old for the program.